- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 19, 2003

Juwan Howard’s signing with Orlando makes perfect sense. After all, since he got that $105million contract from the Wizards, he’s been living in Fantasyland.

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Let me get this straight: In Eddie Jordan’s first game on the Wizards bench — in the Reebok Summer League — his team gets outscored 32-0 during one stretch?

Anybody got a number for Gar Heard?

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How about Jim Brovelli?

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Heck, Leonard Hamilton is looking pretty good right now.

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Ed McKee, George Washington’s sultan of sports media, e-mails to report that Chris Monroe (the subject of Thursday’s column) shouldn’t be lonely in Europe. “The route that quiet Chris is taking is familiar to several of our hoop alums — such as Shawnta Rogers and Yegor Mescheriakov. They and others have made nice careers for themselves overseas.”

Shawnta is playing in France for the Le Mans club and averaged 16.2 points and 7.2 assists a game last season. Yegor, meanwhile, is in Italy with Capo D’Orlando and averaged 16.8 points and 8.3 rebounds.

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I got those details not from Ed but from eurobasket.com, a wonderful little Web site I stumbled across in my Internet travels. If you’re ever wondering, “Whatever happened to …,” go to eurobasket.com and do a player search. There’s a good chance he’ll turn up somewhere. (The site covers not just Europe, but North America, Latin America, Asia, Australia and Africa as well.)

That’s how I found out that another GW product, Val (SirValiant) Brown, played in Greece last season — and also for the Roanoke (Va.) Dazzle in the National Basketball Development League.

One of his teammates on the Dazzle was former Colonial Mike King.

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Another interesting feature at eurobasket.com is a list of the 50 tallest players in the world. Yao Ming, believe or not, is only No.10. The biggest Big Guy is Turkey’s Sultan Kosen, who measures 7-11. (And is still growing. Doctors say he could eventually reach 8-2.)

There’s a great picture of him, in sandals, holding a ball aloft next to the basket. He can almost dunk without leaving the ground.

• • •

That mock trial on ESPN to argue Pete Rose’s fitness for the Hall of Fame reminded me of a similar one in 1970 to determine whether Paul McCartney was dead. The Rose extravaganza featured Alan Dershowitz and Johnnie Cochran; the McCartney special featured F. Lee Bailey (who, fittingly, later joined Cochran on O.J. Simpson’s defense team).

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Are you too young to remember that in the late ‘60s, a wild rumor circulated that McCartney had died in a car accident and been replaced by a double? That might be a pretty good defense for Rose, come to think of it. His legal team could claim that he perished in a fiery crash, and that it was a lookalike who bet on the baseball games. (That would certainly explain the Reds’ 59-66 record in Pete’s last season as manager — not to mention his .219 batting average. It wasn’t him!)

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By the way, did you know that if you play “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” backwards, you’ll hear Bart Giamatti say, ever so faintly, “I buried Pete”?

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Jets quarterback Chad Pennington on the loss of free agents Laveranues Coles, Randy Thomas, Chad Morton and John Hall to the Redskins (as quoted by the Los Angeles Times):

“I think our team is stronger because of our offseason transactions. I think our team has come closer together knowing we lost some good players and we have to step it up. … Our receiving corps is stronger this year, because the whole corps including myself knows what is expected of us. We know we have to step it up. We lost our best receiver. We lost a receiver that I have a great feel for. But the NFL’s about change. And if you can’t adapt to change, you’re not going to be in the NFL very long.”

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I think I speak for all of us when I say: Huh?

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How Times Have Changed Dept.:

1960 — Linebacker Sam Huff is wired for sound during a preseason game in the groundbreaking CBS program, “The Violent World of Sam Huff.”

2003 — Linebacker LaVar Arrington redecorates the rec room in his townhouse on the Learning Channel’s hit show, “While You Were Out.”

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Yes, the Marcus Dupree who was just added to the Redskins scouting staff is the same Marcus Dupree who once held the high school career touchdown record (breaking the mark held by Herschel Walker). Dupree was such a legend in Philadelphia, Miss., that Willie Morris wrote a book about his college recruitment, “The Courting of Marcus Dupree.”

(Oklahoma won the sweepstakes, but Marcus left school during his sophomore year and joined the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL. As a rookie in ‘84, he rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns against the Tampa Bay Bandits, coached by none other than Steve Spurrier. Knee problems, alas, cut his playing days short.)

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Where else but the Sunday Column can you get stats from long-forgotten USFL games?

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This probably doesn’t matter to anybody but me, but …

Dupree’s hometown is mentioned in the Oscar-winning film, “In the Heat of the Night.” It happens in the classic scene between Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger at the police station, just after Sidney has been picked up on suspicion of murder. Rod asks him where he’s headed, and Sidney says, “Philadelphia.”

Rod: “Mississippi?”

Sidney (icily): “Pennsylvania.”

(Then he drops the bomb that he, too, is a police officer. Great stuff.)

• • •

Connie Marrero’s name came up the other day. He’s one of the three major-leaguers — along with Jamie Moyer this year and Satchel Paige in 1952 — to make the All-Star team for the first time at the age of 40 or older.

Marrero, an old Washington Senator, was 40 years, 3 months, when he made the AL squad in 1951. Baseball folks, however, weren’t aware of it at the time. A Cuban who came to the bigs late in life — a la El Duque — Connie had everybody convinced he was 34. Indeed, in my copy of “The Baseball Encyclopedia,” his birth date is listed as May 1, 1917. His real birth date, as it turns out, was April 25, 1911.

Marrero had a decent career for somebody who broke into the majors at 38. He went 39-40 in five seasons for mediocre-to-bad Senators teams and pitched a one-hitter in ‘51 (the day after his 40th birthday). He was kind of a Cuban version of Bobby Shantz — a 5-foot-7, 158-pound lefty who got by on guile as much as anything else. Much thanks to Mr. Moyer for bringing Connie back to us, if only for a few paragraphs.

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From BaseballLibrary.com:

“April 17, 1951: The [Philadelphia] Athletics play the first Opening Day night game in American League history, losing to Washington 6-1. … Connie Marrero is the winner as batterymate Mickey Grasso homers.”

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Speaking of geezers, 77-year-old Minnie Minoso had to sign a standard Northern League contract last week to make his at bat for the St. Paul Saints official. The contract was for $1,000. Pro-rated over 31 days, that means Minoso got paid $32.26 for drawing a walk (plus an appearance fee, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune).

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Then again, it’s probably more than he got to sign with the Indians in ‘49.

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Quote of the Week: “The team I’d like to have would be 75 percent tough, hard-nosed players. You can call them fighters or intimidators, whatever, but they have to play the game. The other 25 percent are the pretty boys, the talented kids, the guys who win games, who put the puck in the net.”

— Rod Langway, coach of the new Richmond team in the United Hockey League

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And finally, about 25 fans showed up in Toronto last week to protest the Maple Leafs’ inactivity in the free-agent market. Actually, only 23 of them came to express their displeasure with Leafs management; the other two, I’m told, thought it was a demonstration against Augusta National.

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